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Canadian Song Conference
2019 Canadian Songwriter Challenge

The Canadian Songwriter Challenge Music PEI and Bell Media initiative in its fifth year and is part of the annual Canadian Song Conference (CSC), taking place in partnership with 2019 ECMA. The 2019 Canadian Songwriter Challenge activities will be held from April 30th to May 5th, 2019.

The 2019 edition of the Canadian Songwriter Challenge expands on the initial program within the CSC. This year’s Canadian Songwriter Challenge will pair six Atlantic Canadian songwriters with peers from across Canada. These songwriters will spend April 30th and May 1st co-writing and recording demos at selected professional recording studios on PEI, with May 2nd held to finalize mixes.

In the following days, the songwriters will have the opportunity to pitch their songs to a panel of delegates, including music supervisors, publishers, labels, and other industry professionals from Canada and further abroad. Participating artists will also have an opportunity to pitch their own catalogue of songs. These are not critiquing sessions but more like a sales pitch session with the goal of securing new business opportunities.

The artists will also have a performance opportunity featuring all the pairs of collaborators in concert during the conference.

Music PEI conducted a juried submission process for Music PEI members for this event, and partnered with ECMA, the Atlantic Canadian music industry associations (Music NS, Music NB and Music NL), as well as Music BC, Alberta Music, Sask Music, Manitoba Music, Music Ontario, and MFM Northern Ontario to select participating songwriters.

The 2019 Canadian Songwriter Challenge artists include:

Brittany McQuinn Brittany McQuinn (New Brunswick)

Brittany McQuinn is a singer/songwriter creating electronic music, bringing her pop sensibility to a wide range of electronic genres. She uses music for mental health advocacy and has partnered on many occasions to do this work alongside the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2016 she won a Toronto Independent Music Award, and opened for k.d.lang & released an EP, Bold in 2017. 2018 brought recognition of this release when she received two Music New Brunswick Awards: Solo Recording of The Year and Pop Artist of The Year. She is part of a duo named Bleum. A believer in collaboration, she performs and writes with DJ/producers, at times under the alias lytbryt. Many of these tracks have been released on labels, including Armada Music.

Co-writer: Madison Olds (British Columbia)
Recording Studio: The Studio At The Guild
Chris Ryan Chris Ryan (Newfoundland)

Hailing from Canada's East Coast, Newfoundland's Chris Ryan has been entertaining crowds for over a decade. With his gritty voice, stellar guitar playing and high energy stage presence, Chris has become a mainstay in the Atlantic Canadian entertainment scene. Chris has had the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Halifax Urban Folk Festival and Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, as well as share the stage with country music legends Toby Keith and Deana Carter, Canadian royalty Blue Rodeo, Canadian country artist Dallas Smith, Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and Newfoundland folk favorites Fortunate Ones.
Co-writer: Mike Harmel (Saskatchewan)
Recording Studio: Crabbe Road Productions
Dave Sampson Dave Sampson (Nova Scotia)

Dave Sampson writes heart-on-your-sleeve folk/pop songs, delivered with a captivating and authentic voice that could blow down a brick house. His knack for crafting simple ear-worms and his high-energy shows have been winning him fans across Canada. Collaborating and sharing the stage with some of Canada’s top exports such as Classified, Alan Doyle, Donovan Woods as well as being chosen as one of Canada’s Top 5 emerging artists by Canada’s Walk of Fame emerging program in 2016. Dave is sure to make waves with his anticipated 2019 Nashville recorded release, produced by grammy award winning songwriter Gordie Sampson.

Co-writer: Sierra Noble (Manitoba)
Recording Studio: The Sound Mill Recording Studio
Greyson Gritt Greyson Gritt (Northern Ontario)

Greyson Gritt was born on the Canadian Shield, raised on a dirt road, and lives as a sub-arctic folk-blues musician in Yellowknife, NWT. With a mouthful of soul and a truckload of blues, this queer Anishinaabe-Métis songster was nominated for Best Blues Album at the Indigenous Music Awards in 2017 and is a member of the JUNO award-winning group Quantum Tangle.

Co-writer: Teresa Doyle (PEI)
Recording Studio: The Hill Sound Studio
Logan Richard Logan Richard (Prince Edward Island)

Growing up in Stratford, PEI, music was always a driving force for Logan. After picking up the guitar at the age of 10, he quickly became known throughout the local blues scene as a force to be reckoned with. At age 12, Logan formed the blues group Ripped Paper with some friends, and the band played venues all over Prince Edward Island such as The Guild, The Confederation Centre of the Arts, and Cloggeroo Folk Festival. Since then, Richard has been a part of other groups such as The Elusive Kings, and Generator. Richard has now decided to go solo. Drawing from his past in blues bands, and experimental rock bands, he is taking these sounds and using them in developing his own sound.

Co-writer: Nuela Charles (Alberta)
Recording Studio: The Hill Sound Studio
Madison Olds Madison Olds (British Columbia)

Sporting signature space buns, Madison Olds, Canadian based acoustic pop singer songwriter writes and performs in styles of Julia Michaels and Ed Sheeran. 2016, she was featured (her band) in a national competition, their song a bonus track on CMT Chevy Top 20. Career highlights include opening the same stage as Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson at Rockin’ River Fest. Her single, "Moments in the Mountains", written for Kamloops’ 2018 BC Winter Games, caught the interest of tourism and television and has almost 300k streams on Spotify. Her latest single, "Thank You" launched to national Canadian radio fall 2018. Recent highlights include opening for Tyler Shaw and Scott Helman and being selected as a CBC Music 2019 Searchlight top 100 artist. Highlighting acoustic roots, her debut album, BLUE, released Feb. 2019 with poppy singles like REPEAT and heartfelt ballads like SECOND CHANCES and ROSES.

Co-writer: Brittany McQuinn (New Brunswick)
Recording Studio: The Studio At The Guild
Mike Harmel Mike Harmel (Saskatchewan)

Mike Harmel is the lead singer of Regina’s, Government Town, who describe themselves as Celtic-tinged, country-flavoured, alt rock, folk, pop and Canadiana. They’re OK with that. With deeply personal stories, his songs ring with hope and love and truth. There’s a certain welcome gravitas in Government Town, that comes with a songwriter who’s a little older, a little wiser, turning kind attention to those shared experiences that shape us all – losing a loved one, finding a passion, trying to live a full life. The imagery of Mike’s songs remain after the last chord of the gorgeous arrangements has faded.

Co-writer: Chris Ryan (Newfoundland)
Recording Studio: Crabbe Road Productions
Nuela Charles Nuela Charles (Alberta)

Nuela Charles is an alternative soul singer/songwriter based in Edmonton, Canada, known for her soulful vocals and captivating stage presence. Noted as “one to watch” by the legendary, Nuela has become an indie synch darling, landing 11 TV placements off of her debut album “Aware” alone!
Co-writer: Logan Richard (PEI)
Recording Studio: The Hill Sound Studio
Rachel Beck Rachel Beck (Prince Edward Island)

Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Rachel Beck is already making her mark on the national scene with a hit debut release. Beck’s self-titled, multi award-winning album came out on March 2, 2018. On March 8, its first single, Reckless Heart, hit #1 on the CBC Music Top 20 after having the most online votes for 6 weeks straight.
Beck’s hook-driven, emotive piano pop melodies captivate. And whether you see her live, hear her on the radio, or press play on one of her songs, the experience is just as impactful: you are not only brought under her vocal spell, but are an instant fan.

Co-writer: Tessa Gooden (Ontario)
Recording Studio: The Nest Recording Studio
Sierra Noble Sierra Noble (Manitoba)

Sierra Noble has been a well known part of the Canadian music scene since a very young age, beginning her touring career when she was only 14 years old as a solo Old-Time fiddle player. Her evolution as an artist brought her to trying her hand at singing and songwriting debuted by a song called “Possibility” which went on to be featured on television shows such as “One Tree Hill” and “Switched at Birth.” She credits that song to be what opened the door to her opening for international legends Bon Jovi, and Paul McCartney.

Co-writer: Dave Sampson (Nova Scotia)
Recording Studio: The Sound Mill Recording Studio
Teresa Doyle Teresa Doyle (Prince Edward Island)

Teresa Doyle is a vocal explorer with a lifelong passion for pushing the boundaries of her voice. She’s endlessly experimenting with new vocal colours, extended vocal techniques, and vocal textures from other cultures. Her exploration has taken her around the world singing with Kenyan farm women, a Japanese lute player, Tibetan overtone singers, Soca musicians from Tobago, improvisers in New York, South Indian yogis, traditional Gaelic singers from Ireland, and folk musicians from the Yukon Territory to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her repertoire reflects her journey but is always firmly rooted in the Celtic music and stories of her native Prince Edward Island.

Co-writer: Greyson Gritt (Ontario)
Recording Studio: The Hill Sound Studio
Tessa Gooden Tessa Gooden (Ontario)

Symphony cellist, actor and powerful RnB singer and producer, Tessa definitely knows how to multitask. She has released music through Universal Music Group as well as independently, and has toured internationally. She is the also the current Digital Media and Outreach co-ordinator at SOCAN Foundation and is leading their new TD Artist Incubator Program. TESSA released a new album entitled “Fool Love” in the fall 2018.

Co-writer: Rachel Beck (PEI)
Recording Studio: The Nest Recording Studio

Catalogues of past Canadian Songwriter Challenge collaborations are available:

2018 Canadian Songwriter Challenge on Soundcloud
Josh Carter (PEI) & Shaun LB (NB)
Catherine MacLellan (PEI) & Reeny Smith (NS)
Russell Louder (PEI) & Steph Copeland (ON)
Amanda Jackson Band (PEI) & Alexandria Maillot (BC)
Alicia Toner (PEI) & Sean Panting (NL)
Danny Drouin (PEI) & Shantaia (SK)

2017 Canadian Songwriter Challenge on Soundcloud
Meaghan Blanchard (PEI) & Gabrielle Papillon (NS)
Andrew Waite (PEI) & Ross Neilsen (SK)
Rachel Beck (PEI) & Jordan Alexander (ON)
Dennis Ellsworth (PEI) & Tyler Gilbert (SK)

2016 Canadian Songwriter Challenge on Soundcloud
KINLEY (PEI) & Carleton Stone (NS)
Dennis Ellsworth (PEI) & Andy Brown (NB)
Tim Chaisson (PEI) & Brianna Gosse (NL)
Dylan Menzie (PEI) & Kashka (ON)

2015 Canadian Songwriter Challenge on Soundcloud
Coyote (PEI) & Dan Mangan (BC)
Meaghan Blanchard (PEI) & Tim Hus (AB)
Tim Chaisson (PEI) & Jay Semko (SK)
Ashley Condon (PEI) & The Small Glories (MB)
Dennis Ellsworth (PEI) & Donovan Woods (ON)


» Submissions for the 2019 Canadian Songwriter Challenge are now closed. Submissions for the 2020 Canadian Songwriter Challenge will open in Fall 2019.
» Canadian Songwriter Challenge Guidelines